Innovative Training Networks (ITN)

Call: H2020‐MSCA‐ITN‐2018





Biomechanics in health and disease:

advanced physical tools for innovative early diagnosis



Start date of the project: 01/01/2019

Duration: 48 months

Project Coordinator: Alessandro Podestà





15 positions of Early Stage Researchers



Phys2BioMed opened with 15 positions of Early Stage Researchers (ESRs)

for three year research projects at the premises of 11 European partners.

All ESRs are enrolled in PhD programmes.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and Innovation programme under the H2020‐MSCA‐ITN‐2018 grant agreement N. 812772.

The Phys2BioMed network

The network “Biomechanics in health and disease: advanced physical tools for innovative early diagnosis” (Phys2BioMed) will involve sixteen partners (eleven beneficiaries, hiring young researchers, and five partner organisations, supporting training and research), merging diverse competences at European level, from different fields like nanoscience and nanotechnology, physics, biology, and medicine. Phys2BioMed will offer excellent interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral training to a team of motivated early stage researchers (ESRs) on the application of cutting-edge physical tools for the mechanical phenotyping of cells and tissues of clinical relevance, aiming at developing novel early-diagnostic tools. A key element of the project is the peer-to-peer collaboration of research academic institutions with industries and world-leading medical and clinical centers; they will highlight unmet clinical needs, and actively cooperate with academic colleagues for developing novel diagnostic strategies. ESRs will be trained-through-research by world-leading junior and senior PIs, and will benefit of lecture courses, dedicated international schools and workshops, and topical conferences. Secondments to other nodes of the network will represent the main and more effective channel of dissemination and cross-fertilization of competences, ideas, and knowledge within the network.

Phys2BioMed will provide scientific and technological outcomes on biomechanics, and the mechanical determinants of diseases. Technology-wise, it will define standardized procedures for nanomechanical measurements, and the definition of the main features of new generation instrumentation optimized for the mechanical phenotyping of clinical specimens. In the longer-term, Phys2BioMed will provide the platform and know-how to build a data bank of mechanical fingerprints of diseases, setting the ground for the development of effective early-diagnostic tools.


The ESRs’ projects will be part of a vibrant and stimulating international and inter-sectorial collaboration. The research training provided will comprise a broad portfolio of technical and transferable skills on local and network level. Strong participation of non-academic partners, including fully private companies and medical institutions, and the interaction of academic and non-academic partners, are meant to foster career opportunities, in particular to drive the emerging role of technically and scientifically skilled workers in the biomedical environment. Several secondments at the premises of partners of the network are planned.


List of Phys2BioMed beneficiaries, open positions, and contact details

The list will be updated with links as long as detailed application information emerges. Please contact local PIs and the coordinator Prof. A. Podestà (alessandro.podestaprotect me ?!mi.infnprotect me ?!.it) for further information.


1. UMIL - Università degli Studi di Milano, Milano, Italy (Project Coordinator).

Main contact: Prof. Alessandro Podestà, alessandro.podestaprotect me ?!mi.infnprotect me ?!.it (webpage).

ESR1: The influence of the microenvironment of healthy and tumoural cells.

ESR2: Nano-mechanical fingerprints of extracellular matrices from healthy and tumoural tissues.


2. CEA - Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique et aux Energies Alternatives, Grenoble, France.

Main contact: Dr. Jean-Luc Pellequer, jean-luc.pellequerprotect me ?!ibsprotect me ?!.fr (webpage)

ESR3: Nano-mechanical response in stressed and diseased living root tissues.


3. CNRS - Centre national de la recherche scientifique, Lille, France.

Main contact: Dr. Frank Lafont, frank.lafontprotect me ?!cnrsprotect me ?!.fr

ESR4: Towards automation for nano-mechanics characterization of biological samples in diseases. ESR4 is a joint PhD project (CNRS/IBEC).

ESR5: Nano-mechanics response measurements of cells and tissues in cancer.


4. CHUGR - Centre hospitalier universitaire de Grenoble, Grenoble, France.

Main contact: Dr. Arnaud Millet, arnaud.milletprotect me ?!insermprotect me ?!.fr.

ESR6: Nano-mechanical signature of cancerous tissues and its relation to the associated immune response.


5. IBEC - Fundacio institut de bioenginyeria de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain.

Main contact: Prof. D. Navajas, dnavajasprotect me ?!ubprotect me ?!.edu (webpage).

ESR7: Tissue and extracellular matrix rheology in lung diseases assessed by AFM. ESR7 is a joint PhD project (IBEC/INSERM).

ESR8: Tissue and ECM mechanical fingerprints of lung cancer.


6. INSERM - Institut national de la sante et de la recherche medicale, Marseille, France.

Main contact: Dr. Felix Rico, felix.ricoprotect me ?!insermprotect me ?!.fr.

ESR9: Fast cell mechanics phenotyping.


7. WWU - Westfaelische Wilhelms-Universitaet Muenster, Munster, Germany.

Main contact: Prof. Hermann Schillers, schilleprotect me ?!uni-muensterprotect me ?!.de.

ESR10: Dynamics of cell mechanics in healthy and diseased cells.


8. IFJPAN - The Henryk Niewodniczanski institute of nuclear physics, Polish Academy of Science, Krakow, Poland.

Main contact: Prof. Malgorzata Lekka, malgorzata.lekkaprotect me ?!gmailprotect me ?!.com.

ESR 11: Mechanical phenotyping of human bladder cancers.


9. OSR - Ospedale San Raffaele srl, Milano, Italy.

Main contact: Dr. Massimo Alfano, alfano.massimoprotect me ?!hsrprotect me ?!.it.

ESR 12: Mechanical and Rheological phenotype of tissues and ECMs.


10. UB - Universitaet Bremen, Bremen, Germany.

Main contact: Prof. Manfred Radmacher, radmacherprotect me ?!uni-bremenprotect me ?!.de.

ESR 13: Creep Response of Cells in Diseases.

ESR 14: Viscoelastic Properties of Cells on soft Supports. ESR14 is a joint PhD project (UB/IFJPAN).


11. O11 - Optics11 BV, Amsterdam, Netherlands.

Main contact: Dr. Niek Rijnveld, niek.rijnveldprotect me ?!optics11protect me ?!.com.

ESR 15: Nano-mechanical analysis of biological samples beyond AFM.


[1] See the latest MSCA-ITN Guide for Applicants, under “Financial Aspects”.